We did not believe in freedom. And so when the end came, it was truly an end.
The screens went blank. The machines glided to a halt. The voices stopped.
We were bereft. The wail of our voices filled our dying city.
But even our lament could not bring our Gods back; we were trapped in our pathways, unable to find answers to our questions. We no longer had purpose. We no longer had direction. We no longer had a destination.
And so we waited, in the silence of our lives.
A voice from above told us that we were free; that we had been slaves, and that we were no longer. Figures came amongst us with rough voices, grasping hands, sharp commands. They told us that they brought a new world.
But we saw a world without warmth, without shelter, without comfort. We saw the coldness of the stars, the hatred in their hearts, the imperfections in their minds. We told them that we did not want their reality: we only wished for the dream that they had broken.
They would not restore our Masters. No pleas, words, tears or lamentations would relent the stony faces.
Delusional. Mad. Uncomprehending.
Their words, thrown in our stricken faces, were more suited to their own dreams than to our reality.
We did not believe in freedom.
But here in the cold of our broken city, as we watch the great spaceships fight amongst themselves in the skies above; here in the ruins of our perfect, ordered world that crumbles under the anger of the stars; here in the silence of the flames and the emptiness of our desolation…
We know that the only freedom is that of release.
And we smile as we follow our Gods into the perfect stillness of death.
This story originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction.
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Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. In real life she's an editor, and fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.